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Home / Opinions / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: May 3, 2017
These opinions were released by the 8th U.S. District Court of Appeals.

8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: May 3, 2017

Civil Opinions



Social Security; Denial of Benefits; Evidence

Where a claimant of supplemental security income challenged the denial of his application for benefits, the judgment is affirmed because substantial evidence supported the administrative law judge’s findings that the claimant did not meet the listing for mental impairment and did not show adaptive function limitations, and the ALJ adequately accounted for the claimant’s limitations in a residual functional capacity hypothetical.  Judgment is affirmed.

16-1931 Scott v. Berryhill, appealed from the Eastern District of Arkansas, Gruender, J.


Civil Practice

Appellant Brief; Adoption of Argument; Class Action

Where an appellant’s letter in a class action dispute adopted by reference part of the brief of another objector to the proposed settlement, the adoption did not cause the appellant’s principal brief to exceed the word limit, and the arguments proposed in opposition did not withstand scrutiny, so the motion to amend is granted.

Dissenting opinion by Shepherd, J.: “The courts of appeals typically do not care how parties invoke Rule 28(i). See, e.g., United States v. Isgar, 739 F.3d 829, 834 n.1 (5th Cir. 2014) (allowing adoption by both motion and letter). This is likely because, as apparent from cases the majority cites, a party’s decision to adopt the arguments of a co-party ordinarily is not met with

opposition or controversy. Here, however, there is a genuine dispute between opposing parties, which has brought the court’s attention to the need for clarity as to Rule 28(i)’s limited scope. That need is neglected in the court’s Order amending the opinion. I therefore respectfully dissent.” Motion to amend granted.

15-3909 Sciaroni v. Consumer Plaintiffs, appealed from the District of Minnesota, Benton, J.


Civil Practice

Class Action; Settlement; Administrative Costs

Where class members challenged a settlement and class counsel’s motion for attorney’s fees in a class action arising from a dispute over the cost of a software re-download, the class members did not show that the District Court abused its discretion by approving the settlement without first knowing the final administrative costs or the final amount received by the class since the court was provided an estimate and there is no requirement that the court know the final amounts prior to approval, and the court did not err in including the administrative costs in its calculation of attorney’s fees. Judgment is affirmed.

16-2015 Caligiuri v. Symantec Corp., appealed from the District of Minnesota, Gruender, J.


Civil Practice

Hospital Lien; Rooker-Feldman; Arkansas Law


Where a medical center sought relief for alleged impairment of a hospital lien, and the District Court dismissed its claim on the grounds that it was barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and that it failed under Arkansas law, the application of the doctrine in this case to a non-party would improperly expand the doctrine contrary to recent rulings clarifying its impact, so the doctrine did not bar the claim, and the court finds that Tennessee law should apply to the lien impairment claim, so the grant of summary judgment is vacated and remanded. Vacated; remanded.

15-3765 Shelby County Health Care Corporation v. Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, appealed from the Eastern District of Arkansas, Colloton, J.


Civil Practice

Removal; Diversity Jurisdiction; Pharmaceutical Action


Where a drug manufacturer defendant challenged a District Court order awarding attorney’s fees and argued that removal was objectively reasonable following the remand of the case to state court, the award of attorney’s fees was not a sanction, and the satisfaction of the judgment had mooted the appeal. Dismissed. Vacated.

16-2524 Robinson v. Pfizer, Inc., appealed from the Eastern District of Missouri, Arnold, J.


Civil Rights

ADA; Public Accommodations; YMCA Camp


Where a mother who sought to enroll her autistic child in a YMCA summer camp objected to the requirement that she provide the camp with the child’s Individualized Education Plan, assuming that the mother’s request to provide less information than the entire IEP was a request for reasonable accommodation, the YMCA did offer to modify the policy by obtaining the information from a third party such as a pediatrician, but the mother filed suit before a final decision was made, so she could not show that the YMCA unreasonably failed to accommodate the child, and the YMCA did not violate Title VII of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Judgment is affirmed.

16-1460  Koester v. Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater St. Louis, appealed from the Eastern District of Missouri, Beam, J.


Civil Rights

Civil Commitment; Juvenile Court Supervision; Qualified Immunity


Where a plaintiff who was civilly committed to a juvenile home brought an action against employees of the home claiming that they allowed him to be sexually abused, subjected him to prolonged solitary confinement and failed to educate him, the  reports submitted to the juvenile court did not show that it was aware of the conditions of confinement or that the plaintiff was being held in seclusion, so the juvenile court’s supervision of the commitment did not establish that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. Judgment is reversed and remanded.

16-1767 Bradford v. Palmer, appealed from the Northern District of Iowa, Murphy, J.



First Amendment; State Fair Rules; Iowa Law

Where a man who sought to share a religious message by carrying a pole with a sign at a state fair sought an injunction against enforcement of rules that limited such signs and prohibited impeding traffic, the broader relief sought by the plaintiff was properly denied because he failed to show a likelihood of irreparable harm or a reasonable probability of success on the merits.

Judgment is affirmed.

16-1190 Powell v. Ryan, appealed from the Southern District of Iowa, Colloton, J.



Filing Deadline; Independent Candidates; Arkansas Law


Where plaintiffs, who wished to appear on a general election ballot in Arkansas as independent candidates, brought an action against the secretary of state alleging that the filing deadline was unnecessarily early, which violated their rights, a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the verification of independent candidate petitions would conflict with the processing of other signature petitions under the former deadline, so the District Court erred in granting the state’s motion for summary judgment.  Judgment is affirmed in part; reversed in part.

15-3558 Moore v. Martin, appealed from the Eastern District of Arkansas, Wollman, J.



Storm Damage; Marina Docks; Flood Exclusion


Where a marina that lost five of its eight docks following storms sought compensation for the loss from its insurer, the District Court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to strike the insurer’s expert report and opinions because the disclosure of the expert was timely, and the grant of summary judgment for the insurer is affirmed because the term “flood” in the insurance contract was not ambiguous, and there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the flood waters caused the damage. Judgment is affirmed.

16-2846 Hudson Enterprises, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London Insurance Companies, appealed from the Eastern District of Arkansas, Murphy, J.


Intellectual Property

Trademark Infringement; Deceptive Trade Practice; Minnesota Law


Where in a dispute arising from defendant dry cleaner franchisees’ alleged use of the plaintiff’s trademarks without its approval the allegations of trademark infringement and deceptive trade practice were directly contradicted by the terms of the asset purchase agreement, the continued operation of the dry cleaner stores under franchise agreements that had not been terminated could not cause consumer confusion, and the plaintiff failed to prove willful infringement, so the award of damages, accounting for profits and attorney’s fees award are reversed, and the denial of a default judgment against the individual defendants is affirmed. Judgment is affirmed in part; reversed in part.

16-1069 Martinizing International, LLC v. BC Cleaners, LLC Appeals, appealed from the District of Minnesota, Loken, J.



Criminal Opinions


Burglary Conspiracy



Where a defendant convicted of conspiracy and burglary challenged the denial of his motion to sever the case from that of a co-defendant, the efficiency of joinder was not outweighed by any difficulty to the jury of analyzing the evidence against the individual defendants, and the defendant did not show that the court erred in prohibiting certain expert testimony, and the other defendant did not show that an order of restitution was improperly imposed since the retail stores burglarized were clearly victims that were harmed as a result of the offense. Judgment is affirmed.

14-3412 U.S. v. Benedict, appealed from the District of Minnesota, Murphy, J.


Habeas Relief

Assistance of Counsel

Where a defendant in a felony murder case sought habeas relief arguing that his counsel was ineffective by advising him not to testify after promising to the jury that he would, the denial of relief is affirmed because the defense counsel’s change in strategy was based on an unexpected development, and the state high court properly found that that counsel weighed the risk of the defendant not testifying.  Judgment is affirmed.

16-2279 Bahtuoh v. Smith, appealed from the District of Minnesota, Murphy, J.


Religious Freedom Act

Heroin Case

Where a defendant argued that his distribution of heroin was an “exercise of his sincerely held religious belief,” his allegation that his prosecution violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act failed because even assuming without deciding that prosecution substantially burdened his exercise of religion, the government’s prosecution for distributing heroin to others for non-religious use represented the least restrictive means for the government to further its compelling interest in mitigating the diversion of heroin to recreational users.  Judgment is affirmed.

16-3053 U.S. v. Anderson, appealed from the Eastern District of Missouri, Gruender, J.



Background Consideration

Child Pornography

Where a defendant in a child pornography case argued that consecutive sentencing was an abuse of discretion, the District Court did not ignore mitigating factors such as the defendant’s childhood trauma and his desire for treatment, and the defendant did not show that the court misjudged the proper balance between the sentencing factors that it weighed, so the sentences are affirmed. Judgment is affirmed.

16-1441 U.S. v. Beyers, appealed from the Western District of Missouri, Riley, J.


Upward Departure

Where a defendant sentenced to 96 months in a felon in possession case challenged his sentence, the District Court did not abuse its discretion by departing upward from the initial guidelines range to reflect the defendant’s understated criminal history and his recidivism risk since the crimes were not all minor and together showed a likelihood of further crime. Judgment is affirmed.

16-1599 U.S. v. Taylor, appealed from the Northern District of Iowa, per curiam.




Supervised Release; Revocation

Where a defendant challenged an 18-month sentence imposed after his supervised release was revoked, the judgment is affirmed because the District Court did not abuse its discretion by sentencing him to a term greater than the advisory guideline range because the court properly analyzed the relevant factors, and the sentence was not substantively unreasonable.  Judgment is affirmed.

16-2752 U.S. v. Ford, appealed from the Southern District of Iowa, Rossiter, J.




Violent Felonies; Arkansas Law


Where a defendant in a felon-in-possession case challenged the finding at sentencing that his two prior Arkansas residential burglary convictions were violent felonies, the sentences is vacated and remanded for resentencing because Arkansas residential burglary was broader than generic burglary, so the convictions did not qualify as predicate offenses for the Armed Career Criminal Act. Vacated; remanded.

16-1233 U.S. v. Sims, appealed from the Eastern District of Arkansas, Gruender, J.



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